Supporters of State Senator Adriano Espaillat are calling for a federal monitor to step in and oversee the counting of votes in his congressional race against longtime Congressman Charlie Rangel after reports of uncounted votes emerged yesterday. Mr. Rangel was initially declared the victor by the Associated Press and in unofficial totals from the Board of Elections after the election on Tuesday, but the AP subsequently published a report claiming results from 33 of the 506 precincts in the Upper Manhattan district remained uncounted. Mr. Espaillat’s supporters announced their push for a federal monitor at a press conference in front of Mr. Rangel’s office in Harlem where some of the attendees also made allegations of voter fraud at the polls Tuesday. “I’m here today to call for a federal monitor on the Board of Elections. It is unacceptable that 48 hours after the elections took place….we don’t have the outcome of this election,” said Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, a close ally of Mr. Espaillat’s. “We also have a lot of concerns that still the Board of Elections has not received [results from] a number of election districts. We don’t know where they are, they don’t know where they are.” Though Mr. Rodriguez did not provide specific numbers or locations of the precincts where votes remain uncounted, he said most of these precincts are in areas favorable to Mr. Espaillat inside his State Senate district.
“Most of the election districts that the Board has not received, they are from our district. They are Adriano Espaillat’s numbers,” Mr. Rodriguez said as the crowd chanted Mr. Espaillat’s name. “I am completely convinced that Senator Adriano Espaillat will be a congressman at the end of this process.”
The Board of Elections initially told The Politicker and both the Espaillat and Rangel campaigns that the unofficial results showed Mr. Rangel beating Mr. Espaillat with 16,252 voters or 45.7 percent to Mr. Espaillat’s 13,921 votes, 39.1 percent of the total with 100 precincts reported. Unofficial results do not include affidavit ballots submitted by absentee voters and those whose name is not on the rolls when they arrive at the polling place, however the numbers initially reported by the Board of Elections gave Mr. Rangel a 6.6 percent margin that was more than enough of a cushion to weather any changes caused by the outstanding affidavit ballots. The Associated Press report placed Mr. Rangel’s actual margin of victory at a much smaller 2.8 percent and said the returns from the 33 precincts outstanding along with the affidavit ballots. The Board of Elections has not responded to multiple phone calls and emails from The Politicker asking them to explain the discrepancy or identify how many precincts remain uncounted. However, sources with knowledge of the situation said the Board communicated to the campaigns yesterday and confirmed the AP report.